Difficulties Seniors Can
Face During the Holiday Season
Holiday Cheer combined with Holiday Sensitivity: Older adults may have difficulty participating in holiday events that others take for granted.
The holidays usher in festive gatherings of friends and family, cross-country road trips, nighttime walks along streets brightened with Christmas lights, sled races down snow-capped hills, and the perennial favorite of building gingerbread houses with frosting trim and peppermint doorknobs.
While children and adults might dive into such active festivities with enthusiasm, seniors may need a hand to participate in such celebrations, hampered by their mobility limitations or their distance from other family members.
Whatever the special considerations, the holidays are a time of love, hope, redemption and compassion. No one should miss out. Creative and thoughtful hearts always find a way to modify holiday traditions so that all can enjoy.
Limited mobility can curb holiday fun
Older adults with specific health conditions might have difficulty participating in holiday events that others take for granted. Snowball fights and building snowmen is not feasible for people with weaker joints or difficulty maintaining balance. Strolls through neighborhoods bedecked with lights and animatronics is just not possible for those with canes and walkers.
Yet with sensitivity and advance planning, there are plenty of ways to accommodate a family’s most senior members through modified activities. Cruise the city lights by car, giving seniors the prime seat on an elevated cushion if need be. Outdoor activities can involve seniors at the start of the event or at its final finishing close. Find safe, seated roles for seniors when it comes to home decorating or holiday cooking and baking.
Missing faraway or absent family members
Through the years families spread their roots across the nation and even world. Exciting though it may be to associate with distant places and cultures, that very distance can complicate gatherings especially during the holidays. In particular, seniors face obstacles when traveling—from buying an online ticket to getting to the airport and boarding the plane. Abrupt changes in climate and altitude can have their own challenges for seniors.
As families become larger, holiday gatherings often split into a handful of smaller, overlapping celebrations requiring even more travel and complicated scheduling for the younger set. For seniors who can’t manage the trip, the holidays can sharpen the pain of separation. It’s poignant to miss opportunities to reconnect and reminisce and see the little ones, all of whom are growing so fast.
One way to overcome the miles is using technology as a bridge. Though it can never be as intimate as in-person hugs and kisses and the warmth of loved ones near, we are blessed as a society to welcome the relative ease of video chats via Google Meet, Zoom or Facetime, amazing and easy tools to connect hearts.
Seniors might feel holiday loneliness
The most common struggle for seniors during the holidays (and frankly for all of us at any age) is loneliness. Children and grandchildren are flung across the miles. Spouses and lifelong friends have passed away. Reduced mobility shrinks a person’s life and available options.
For some seniors, watching others in their revelries might stir memories of gatherings no longer remotely possible in their own families.
The good news is loneliness can be eased in any number of ways. There are countless ideas for bringing seniors the warmth of the holidays and the hopeful message it heralds. A quick way to put spark into a senior’s holiday is a handwritten card full of heartful and thoughtful messages or sending a handmade gift that speaks to the senior’s favorites in some sense by virtue of color, scent, texture, interests, memories and collections. Such thoughtful creations will carry the touch and warmth of all who worked on it and will be greatly cherished in the months that follow.
Seniors can be invited to smaller gatherings with relatives who are closer than most—even special one-on-one lunches in holiday venues is a treat to be anticipated and a memory worth treasuring. In fact, some may prefer smaller, more sedate occasions to fully appreciate each person present instead of navigating the chaos of larger gatherings and missing out on deep conversations.
MorningStar Senior Living — Assisted Living Community
If your loved one lives far from family and friends, it could be time to move into an assisted living community nearer to their adult children where they’ll have the constant companionship of fellow seniors and a compassionate service team. At MorningStar Senior Living, a 24/7 team is dedicated to offering healthcare and hospitality services that meet each resident’s social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.